Latest news from Untha UK

Getting involved in the waste food chain

31 January 2012

According to Defra, every tonne of food waste that is processed via anaerobic digestion, rather than sent to landfill, cuts the UK’s emissions by between 0.5 and 1 tonne of CO2 equivalent.

On a household level it is important to recycle any unwanted organic waste – anything from out of date ingredients to pet food, and vegetable peelings to tea bags. Composting this biodegradable matter in your own back garden poses a valuable way to divert waste from landfill, but local authorities are also stepping up their game. Flintshire County Council for example has actually introduced a pilot food waste collection service that takes this one step further.

It’s great to hear that 24,000 properties have been supplied with kitchen and kerbside caddies and biodegradable bags that the council will then empty every week and send for anaerobic digestion processing. Agricultural fertiliser and renewable energy is then produced as a result.

On a business level, it’s great to see commitment levels rising too. Fruit and vegetable market traders in North London for instance have been sending their grocery waste for anaerobic digestion via specially-designed food skips that, when full, are collected from the local transfer station by AD specialists. Not only does this mean that the food becomes an energy resource, but the cost to local taxpayers of sending this waste for AD is 50% less than if the equivalent was landfilled, which presents an added benefit.

So who else has a role to play in the waste food chain? The technology exists to process this waste, and I am privileged to play a part in the provision of shredders that help to break down municipal waste. Innovative engineers don’t stand still though, so we’ll continue to develop evermore pioneering machinery to make the shredding more efficient and cost-effective.

There are currently approximately 500 digesters in the UK, and over 25 of these process organic waste.  But considering that 7m tonnes of food waste ends up in the municipal stream annually, wouldn’t it be great to see more? Obviously the investment needed to build new AD plants is very substantial, but WRAP’s £10m fund will go a long way to kick-starting more developments. Hopefully the commitment at Government level will continue to grow so that we have an even greater all-encompassing dedication to anaerobic digestion, that better echoes that of other European nations.

It goes without saying that more considerate lifestyles would avoid this volume of food waste being generated in the first place, which of course is the absolute preference especially as much of the food is still edible at the point of disposal. But in the meantime the innovative composting process of AD presents significant opportunities the country, especially as biogas fuels come into sharper focus as a potential contributor to the future energy mix. It’s important that we all take a bit of inspiration and get on board.

Other Press Releases By This Company

Released By

Untha UK

Related Industry Sectors